In this post I’m going to be sharing with you how to start a blog from scratch, register your own domain, set up hosting and install WordPress.
As my blog Those Positive Thoughts is focused on self-development and lifestyle advice, I want to share with you my tips on how to create a blog focused on this niche and the questions that you may have once your blog running. Such as:
- What should I write about as a self-development blogger?
- How can I earn money if I’m not blogging about blogging?
- How can I build up trust with my audience?
- What type of opt in should I create?
This post contains affiliate links which means if you sign up for one of these services, I’ll get a commission for helping you start your blog, at no extra cost to you.
Before you set up your blog
Step 1: choose the perfect blog name
Before you dive in and set up your blog, you need to choose your blog name. Think about the impression you want to leave when people read, hear and speak your name. Choosing your name is one of the most important steps to creating your blog.
You want your blog name to be:
- Easy to remember
- Easy to spell
- Relate to you or your niche
Things to check:
- Check your blog name doesn’t spell anything negative in the URL e.g. https://thosepositivethoughts.com
- Check your blog name is available on all social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube etc.)
Once you have chosen and are happy with your blog name, do a quick Google search to check that on one else has this name.
How to set up your blog
Step 1: Choose your blogging platform
Why you SHOULD have a self-hosted blog
When you set up your blog you have the choice between a self-hosted blog or a free blog. I will always recommend having a self-hosted blog especially if you want to create a professional image. With a self-hosted blog you will have full control over your blog such as the layout, changing the theme, installing plugins and adding advertisements. With a free blog you are very limited with what you can change, you will also have “WordPress” or “Blogger” in your domain name. Most importantly, if you ever want to earn any money from your blog (which I’m sure you do) then it’s important that you have a self-hosted blog. Brands will also be more keen to collaborate with you if your blog is self-hosted as they will take you and your blog more seriously.
Choosing your blogging platform
There are a number of platforms which you can choose from to start a blog, such as WordPress, Wix and Squarespace. I have been using WordPress since the start of Those Positive Thoughts and I’m very happy with how easy it is to use!
Why I recommend WordPress
I would highly recommend using WordPress as your blogging platform as it’s extremely easy and simple to use. It’s also the most popular blogging platform which means there are thousands of free guides, videos, and resources out there to help you along the way, which also means you will never have to hire somebody to help you! As WordPress is such a popular platform, there are tones of beautiful blog themes which you can choose from, which means you can really make your blog unique and stand out amongst the crowd. There are also lots of free plugins which you can easily install with WordPress, to make your blog even more unique and beautiful!
Step 2: Choose your hosting platform
Choosing the right hosting site for your blog is super important as it can improve your SEO and increase traffic to your blog. There are a number of different types of WordPress hosting options available however I highly recommend SiteGround which is the hosting service I currently use.
SiteGround is a fantastic hosting option and is the hosting company I am currently with. SiteGround have amazing customer support, and I personally have had a great experience with them. SiteGround offers hosting from $3.95/month by just pre-paying for 12 months (instead of 36 months like with Bluehost). Your first payment to get up and running is only $47.40 and there are no other surprise setup charges. I personally think that SiteGround is the number one choice for WordPress hosting, even though it’s a little more expensive than BlueHost, but they’re customer service is exceptional!
Bluehost is one of the most popular hosting solutions when starting a new self-hosted WordPress blog. They were the very first hosting company I ever used and I picked Bluehost because it was one of the recommended hosts for WordPress. Bluehost basic accounts start at $2.75/month if you prepay for 36 months, and for a few extra dollars per month you can get a “plus” account. The best thing about the plus account is that a single account can host an unlimited number of WordPress blogs, if you ever get the urge to start a second blog.
Step 3: Set up your social accounts
Now that you have chosen and bought your domain name, set up your social accounts with your chosen name. It’s best to do this step straight after you have bought your domain to make sure you get the account name you want.
Step 4: Set up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the industry standard for website and blog traffic reporting. It’s super easy and free to set up and will only take a couple of minutes. Google Analytics is simply amazing! Through it you can track things like:
- How many visitors your blog has received (daily, weekly, monthly etc.)
- Which pages are the most popular
- How people find your blog
- How long people stay on your blog for
- Which device people use to view your blog
Don’t skip this step! Google Analytics is necessary start tracking your page-views and progress from the very start. Plus, it’s very useful to know when you are building and growing your brand. You can create a Google Analytics account with your Gmail login information
Customise your blog
Step 1: Choose a blog theme
When you are just starting your blog and you don’t want to invest too much money into it yet, you can choose a free theme. For the first year and a half o blogging I used a theme called Nuclear Child which is a free theme from WordPress. I simply spent some time editing it and adding plugins. I now have a theme form PigDig which I have paid for.
Step 2: Create your logo
I created my first logo for Those Positive Thoughts right at the start of its launch. However, as my graphic design skills wasn’t all that I soon invested in a new logo from Autumn Lane Paperie. Personally, I think it’s worth investing in a professional logo right from the start, whether you make it yourself or reach out to a designer. You don’t need to spend a lot of money either, my logo cost £15 and I’ve been using it for over a year. Now that’s a good investment!
Step 3: Take professional photos or use free stock images
To create a successful blog you need to have a lot of skills, one being photography. When you first start your blog you can use free stock images until you decide to create your own photos. Some of my favourite websites to get free stock images from are:
I used free stock images when I was first started my blog and while I was developing it, but I then decided to use my own photos. I felt like the free stock images were really handy when you first start your blog but I noticed that the images I was using were also being used on loads of other blogs. This meant that my blog didn’t stand out and I really wanted my blog to be unique and represent myself and my brand.
Add necessary site pages
Before your official “launch,” and before you start posting regularly, you need to create a few specific pages on your site.
Step 1: Disclosure, privacy and comment policy
If you ever want to earn money from your blog, it’s necessary to include a disclosure, privacy and comment policy on your site. You can check out my disclosure page as an example.
Step 2: Write an amazing about me page
Your about me page is the most important page on your blog because it’s where people go to find out about you and your blog. Spend some time writing about yourself and about your blog, you could include the reason why you started your blog and the purpose behind it. You can check out my about page here.
Step 4: Write your contact me page
Another very important page is your contact page. This is how brands will contact you for potential collaboration ideas, it’s how other bloggers will reach out to you and it’s how readers can ask you questions. On WordPress you can easily add a contact form to your page, just like I have with mine. It’s also a good idea to set up a professional email address for your blog, for example mine is [email protected] and I have another which is called [email protected], which is for any queries in relation to my shop. By setting up an email address for your blog, you will look like a professional and you can keep your personal and blogging emails separate.
Step 5: Publish your first blog post
It’s a good idea to publish your first blog post on the same day you set up your blog, this will keep you feeling motivated and excited! When I first launched Those Positive Thoughts, I published four blog posts, one for each of my categories. I then had several blog posts in my drafts, this meant I had time to develop my website and still schedule blog posts every week.
How to start a self-development blog
What should I write about as a self-development blogger?
When I first start Those Positive Thoughts, it started as more of a lifestyle blog, then overtime noticed that I was writing more and more about self-development. As self development blogger, you want to serve your audience by being as real as possible and sharing your own experience and how you have grown and learnt from each one. For example, once a month I post a personal growth update on YouTube, sharing the things I learned and struggled with in the past month.
How can I earn money if I’m not blogging about blogging?
Everytime I see a blog posts from Pinterest on how to make money as a blogger or how someone has made 10k in a month, they ALWAYS seem to be a blogger who blogs about blogging. But what about those of us who want to write about other topics such as self-development or create a general lifestyle blog. How can we earn a little extra money?
I currently earn money though my blog using the following methods:
- Google Adsense
- Creating and selling online courses
- Creating and selling digital products
- Affiliate marketing
Other ways you can earn money online as a self-development blogger is with:
- Group coaching
- 1-1 coaching
- Membership hub – monthly fee to have exclusive access to printable’s, courses, e-books, Facebook community’s
- Tangible products such as a book or a planner
- Webinar – online class where students pay for you to teach them on particular topic
How can I build up trust with my audience?
Trust takes time and the best way to build that trust with your audience is to be consistent and to be real. Be consistent with your content, if you can only share one blog post per week, then stick to that schedule. Don’t share one post one month and then share 10 the next. Consistency means your audience knows what to expect from you and when to expect it from you. It also means that you can create a blogging schedule, making life easier for yourself.
The next thing I would suggest when building up trust with your audience is to be real. You don’t need to be an expert for your audience to trust you, you just need to be one or two steps ahead of them. When you are real your audience will trust you and want to listen to your stories and your advice.
What type of opt in should I create?
If you want to grow your self-development blog, then you will need to create an opt in for your email list. There are a couple of different opt in you can create as a self-development blogger, you can either create a free resource library, which has a variety of different wordbooks, PDF’s and e-books for your readers, each acting as an adding to your popular blog posts. Another option is to have one opt in, which is what I currently have, which will serve your ideal reader, for example my opt in is “A Beginners Guide To Personal Development“.
If you want to find out about my blogging journey feel free to send me a message or comment below! I would love to hear from you and I’m happy to answer any of your questions!